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Figure out what will remain the same

career coaching careers college students committment discipline preparation Jun 03, 2023

Author: Alicia Wade (Co-Founder at The 5 Minute Career Hack)

Congratulations Class of 2023! 

I always look forward to celebrating the end of the academic school year. When children are promoted to the next grade, especially when it’s elementary to middle school and middle school to high school.  

During college graduations, I love seeing families come together to shower the graduate with gifts. I loved customized T-shirts, big heads, buttons, and all the flair and pride families display. There is an elevated sense of celebration when children get to experience their parent's graduation. Being a part of a parent's goal that was delayed to now achieved is special. 

I must admit, graduation speeches may be my most searched YouTube topic. I can watch graduation speeches for hours and a good one repeatedly. 

Since Covid, my appreciation for these moments has been accelerated. Which makes this graduating class extra special to me.  

There were a lot of celebrations for the 2020 graduating class (rightful so) but we have since moved on as we do with most things. I can't wait to read the case studies of the impact the external environment has had on the students that started high school or college in the 2019- 2020 academic year. This has been a wild 4 years for these students.  

There are several things that I think we can learn from the 2023 class: 

1. Adaptability: Students had to abruptly adapt to online learning and remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then hybrid, then fully in-person. School start dates were delayed, and students have had health checks daily, contact tracing, and isolation every time someone contracted COVID. They have shown that being adaptable and flexible is crucial in navigating unexpected changes. 

2. Persistence: Many graduates had their job offers canceled and had to face the uncertainty of starting a career during an economic downturn this year. Many saw their parents furloughed and laid off, which created a loss of financial support for their education and basic needs. They have demonstrated persistence and resilience in the face of adversity. 

3. Community: Despite being physically separated from their classmates and colleagues; graduates have shown the importance of community support and connection. They have utilized technology to maintain relationships and support each other during difficult times. This has created a platform for these students to be examples of global citizenship which has helped them influence significant changes politically, civically, socially, and in the workplace. 

So, thank you class of 2023. 

My gift to you is this one piece of advice: 

I'd like to suggest that you focus on ending something. Many people want to focus on being the first and inventing something that will help them stand out. Innovation has its place and value. I would suggest you become a student of what will remain the same in the next 10 to 15 years. Try to figure out what isn’t going to change. What will remain the same if you don’t share your gift? While you have experienced frequent major changes throughout your academic career, there are many constants. What are those things? More things have not changed, than things that have changed in your industry - go figure that out.  

So, congratulations, and thanks for the lessons you have taught us all. I hope you connect with your tribe; leave your mark and stay curious. Always check your motives. Remember your values should influence your goals. 

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